Randy’s Wing Bar

Food, Restaurants

If you ever walk along the long, thin canal in the middle of Hackney Wick, it’s hard not to notice the towering industrial structure that is Here East, opposite a row of suburban semi-detached houses. After living nearby for over a year, I’m still none the wiser on what Here East is, apart from housing a collection of small independent restaurants.

Our first visit to Randy’s Wing Bar was in the height of summer last year, when groups of friends laughed over ciders and cyclists perched on loungers in the sun. We had liked the food, but portion size was a bit of an issue. So we delayed another trip until the middle of winter, when it was a slightly deserted Friday night in Hackney Wick – not that you could tell in the packed restaurant.

Randy (whoever Randy is) has gone for a lo-fi aesthetic in his wing bar – wooden slab tables, metal buckets to chuck your wing bones in and my favourite feature – kitchen roll to clean you up. I always appreciate entertainment at a restaurant; this one had large Connect Four sets in the corner (hopefully not to play whilst you have sticky fingers).

This restaurant is probably a no-no for vegetarians out there – that’s unless you like onion bhajis in a bun (aptly titled The Argy Bhaji). But if you aren’t, there are many other aptly titled wings and chicken burgers in their simply laid out menu.

Randy's Wing Bar Buffalo Chicken

Randy's Wing Bar Espresso Martini

Randy's Wing Bar

“Can I have The Big Cock please?”

I think I’m still of an age where I can get away with giggling at names, like the title of their original burger. We shared The Big Cock (couldn’t help myself), the Hanoi wings and Buffalo wings.

I have to say, I’m not a big wings person – I often find they’re overcooked or greasy and I’m far too lazy to eat them. But they know how to cook wings right at this place – whether it’s smothered in creamy, spicy, tangy Buffalo sauce (with a splash of truffle blue cheese sauce), or delicately battered with the sweet sour flavours of the Hanoi wings.

Portion size was no longer a problem this time around (they must have realised that £7.5 is unreasonable for 5-6 wings) and they did not wuss out on the flavours and heat. I only felt that a dip for the wings was missing, but that may be due to my being spoilt at home with the various dips Harpall likes to produce on a near daily basis.

I only had a bite of the burger, but I noted two things apart from the fact that it tasted great – 1) they put adequate amounts of gherkin across the chicken *applause*, 2) the brioche bun is exactly what a soft, milky brioche bun should taste like (take note burger chains).

Randy's Wing Bar Hanoi Chicken

Randy's Wing Bar

Randy's Wing Bar

We rounded up our meal with rounds of drinks – and they don’t do too badly on this front either. Special shoutout to the Espresso Martini – you make me want to drink coffee. It’s also worth noting that they do brunch at Randy’s Wing Bar.. so if you’re ever sloth-ing around East London one morning after a night out, it’s worth a shout. It looks like a killer brunch menu.

Randy’s Wing Bar
28 East Bay Lane, The Press Centre, Here East
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, E20 3BS
randyswingbar.co.uk

Messy sour cream pancakes

Food, Recipes

Sour Cream Pancakes

Sour cream pancake toppings

It’s been years since I’ve made myself pancakes on a Shrove Tuesday; pancakes for me fit very neatly into the brunch box, and I just can’t be bothered to faff about with batter when I come home from work mid-week. So in honour of an early pancake day and with too much leftover sour cream from making chilli con queso (a recipe for another day), I fiddled with this recipe from Epicurious (what a great name).

Sure, it sounds a bit strange adding sour cream to pancakes, but you really can’t detect any sour element in its taste. It’s a great alternative to buttermilk pancakes (because those pesky buttermilk pots are never in your local shop) and gives a great fluffy, soft texture. And if you don’t already own one, invest in an egg pan, which is the perfect size for pancakes.

Harpall prefers chocolate chips and syrup on his pancakes, whereas I’m a fresh fruit with cream kinda person. But in the end, both of us just whacked on all of the toppings – hot pancake mess tastes amazing.

Sour cream pancakes

Sour cream pancakes

Sour cream pancakes

Messy sour cream pancakes

(serves two people)

Ingredients
115g sour cream
120g milk
1 large egg
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
140g plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Milk chocolate chips (optional – strongly suggested by Harpall)

Method
1. Whisk together the wet ingredients (from the sour cream down to the vanilla extract).
2. Mix together the dry ingredients and mix in with wet ingredients.
3. On medium heat, coat small pan with melted butter and dollop in 3-4 tbsps of batter for each pancake. Cook for a few minutes on each side and serve hot.

Strawberry compote

Ingredients
250g strawberries – quartered
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Method
1. In a pan over medium heat, mix together all the ingredients with a 50mls water. Keep at a low boil until it reaches desired consistency.

Additional suggested toppings

» Warmed maple syrup
» Vanilla heavy cream
» Fresh blueberries / strawberries / raspberries

Salted caramel brownies

Food, Recipes

The salted caramel variant of any baked good has pretty much become a household favourite of ours. I used to fail so much at making caramel (I’m easily distractable), but I think I have the knack now of melting sugar with cream and butter without burning it.

And I know that mixing caramel into the brownie mixture, with a layer in between and another layer on top might seem a bit much. But is it really… really? I could’ve done with more gooey caramel in this batch, so don’t be shy with spreading that caramel love all over. Recipe is adapted from BBC Good Food – my online food haven.

Salted caramel brownies

Ingredients

Salted caramel
200g granulated sugar
90g butter
120mls double cream
1 tsp salt

Brownie mix
200g dark chocolate (70%)
200g butter
4 eggs
200g light brown sugar
130g plain flour
50g cocoa powder

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180ºC. Start with the caramel. Heat the sugar in a pan slowly over low-medium heat until the sugar melts without burning. Once melted, carefully add the butter and whisk well over the low heat until combined and golden brown.
2. Add the cream slowly to the butter-sugar mixture until fully combined and allow it to rest off the heat. Add the salt and combine well.
3. To start with the brownie mixture, melt the butter and chocolate in a pan over low-medium heat whilst stirring until fully melted.
4. Take 100g of the caramel mixture and mix with the eggs and sugar well. Add the chocolate mixture and mix. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and 1 tsp of salt into the mixture.
5. In a brownie pan, add half the brownie mix and smooth. With the remaining caramel, dollop the caramel over this layer. Carefully pour over the remaining brownie mix. Smooth over.
6. Add the rest of the caramel in thick lines on the top. Take a toothpick and draw swirls into the mix.
7. Put into oven for 30 minutes until brownie mixture just jiggles.